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Alcohol-based hand sanitiser warning
Incident Date: 1 January 2020 Time: ---
Type of Activity: ---
Cause: Explosions or burns
This report is in relation to a Company customer with an employee who used alcohol-based hand gel sanitiser, as per the current recommendations for COVID-19 personal hygiene requirements.
After application, but before the liquid sanitiser had fully evaporated and dried, the individual touched a metal surface where a build-up of static created an ignition source and the sanitiser ignited, resulting in an almost invisible flame on both hands.
The individual managed to extinguish the flames but was left with first and second degree burns (see picture).
What Went Wrong?:
Hand sanitiser gels contain concentrations of alcohol. Once the hand sanitiser is applied, individuals must make sure the gel has suitable time to dry.
In the interest of safety, remember that alcohol vapours can ignite if exposed to an ignition source, such as light switches or cigarette lighters.
Corrective Actions and Recommendations:
a. When using the alcohol-based hand gel sanitisers, ensure the gel is given suitable time to fully dry/evaporate.
b. Avoid touching any surface until the gel has fully dried. Any form of ignition source has the potential to cause the same issues as experienced by the individual.
c. If unsure about using the alcohol-based sanitisers, washing hands with hot soapy water has the same effect as the hand gel.
Figure 1: Alcolol based hand sanitisers - burns
Safety Alert number: 314
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither the IOGP nor any of its members past present or future warrants its accuracy or will, regardless of its or their negligence, assume liability for any foreseeable or unforeseeable use made thereof, which liability is hereby excluded. Consequently, such use is at the recipient's own risk on the basis that any use by the recipient constitutes agreement to the terms of this disclaimer. The recipient is obliged to inform any subsequent recipient of such terms.